The meaning of DELOU is “Back or Return to”. Delou is from the Wolof language spoken in Senegal West Africa.
Delou Africa Dance Ensemble (D.A.D.E.), was established in 1987 by Njeri Plato to provide a platform that showcases the rich traditions of West Africa through artistic expression, education and cultural preservation.
D.A.D.E. is a premier cultural arts, traditional West African, folklore company comprised of an artist’s collective of talented drummers/musicians, dancers and oral historians/storytellers. Their purpose is to foster awareness, by connecting the timeless traditions of West Africa to the vast presence of the African Diaspora. Their performance presentations are motivated by folktale and life transitions that inspires cultural artistic interpretations that leaves their audience captivated.
D.A.D.E. expanded their brand to include a more in-depth community outreach opportunity which resulted in the creation of Delou Africa, Inc. in 2010.
Delou Africa, Inc. (D.A.I.) is a community based cultural arts non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that has residency at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, located in Miami, Florida.
D.A.I. facilitates year-round programs and events for children, adults and the general public to experience, explore and learn about the rich traditions of Africa through dance, drum, music, art and history. The distinct art form of West Africa continues to bridge gaps through arts initiatives and cultural engagements that enhance social enrichment and community outreach development.
D.A.I. developed an annual cultural arts event named the African Diaspora Dance & Drum Festival of Florida (A.D.D.D.F.F.), a World Class International Celebration of Dance, Music and Culture.
The inaugural A.D.D.D.F.F. kicked off on August 6-8, 2010.
A.D.D.D.F.F. expands the knowledge base of the community through a variety of program components for the entire family to enjoy. Our cultural engagement includes: dance, drum & music workshops, Yoga, a Better Living Health Fair and Symposium, Health Screening, a Global Bazaar, and a free Children’s Village Zone that includes Movements & Rhythms of Africa and the Diaspora, Arts & Crafts, African Folktale and a Back to School Book Bag Give-Away.
The A.D.D.D.F.F. Concert Extravaganza has historically sold out! The concert is an artistic collaboration, featuring Delou Africa Dance Ensemble along with world renowned native and local dancers, drummers, musicians and storytellers. Collectively they represent the African Diaspora from Africa, the Caribbean and the United States of America.
A.D.D.D.F.F. periodically recognizes individuals, organizations and or businesses through Delou Africa’s Cultural Community Outreach Development (C.C.O.D.) award. The recipient(s) of the C.C.O.D award is based on their exemplary work that enrich lives through artistic, social, academic and innovative skills that empowers individuals, neighborhoods and communities to engage, develop, enhance and invest in future generations through cultural arts and education.
In 2016 the annual A.D.D.D.F.F was host to the first DanceAfrica Miami.
DanceAfrica Miami was inspired by Dr. Charles “Chuck” Davis also known as Baba (this term means father in many African languages). Baba Chuck Davis transitioned on May 14, 2017. In1986 he founded the Chuck Davis Dance Company in New York City, DanceAfrica sponsored by Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in 1977, and the African American Dance Ensemble in Durham, North Carolina in 1983. While living in New York, he was an instructor at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In 1974, he joined the faculty of the American Dance Festival.
In the 1990’s Miami Dade Community College now known as Miami Dade College (MDC) collaborated with Baba Chuck Davis to host DanceAfrica in Miami but the concept only lasted for two years.
Baba Chuck visited Delou Africa’s 2nd annual African Diaspora Dance & Drum Festival of Florida in 2011 and gave Delou a two-page assessment on the festival. Delou utilized Baba’s feedback as a resource tool and point of reference to improve the overall festival. Delou members, artists, staff, volunteers and attendees all fell in love with Baba’s positive energy. He became Delou Africa’s mentor and festival consultant. In 2013 after attending more of Delou’s festivals, Baba stated, “I will work tirelessly to see this project come to fruition and reach as many communities (locally, nationally and internationally) through the annual Delou Cultural Festival.” He was supportive of Delou being the catalyst for the next DanceAfrica in Miami.
In 2012 at Delou’s 3rd annual African Diaspora Dance & Drum Festival of Florida. Baba Chuck was the recipient of Delou Africa’s Cultural Community Outreach Development (C.C.O.D.) award. We were proud to honor him as a living legacy and cultural ambassador of African dance, music culture and history. Now that Baba Chuck is dancing with the ancestors, Delou Africa will continue to enhance his legacy and amplify his words of wisdom “Peace, Love, and Respect for Everybody”.
In 2016, Baba Chuck’s vision came to fruition when Delou Africa, Inc., became a proud recipient of the Knight Foundation Arts Challenge. The foundation supported our efforts to increase Delou Africa’s festival audience and established the festival as “DanceAfrica Miami” in collaboration with the nationally acclaimed African festival network DanceAfrica.
DanceAfrica Miami, was launched in 2016. Our concert festival featured New York’s renowned Forces of Nature Dance Theater, under the leadership of founder Abdel Salaam. Abdel who was the assistant director and principle lead dancer for the Chuck Davis Dance Company was appointed Artistic Director for DanceAfrica at B.A.M. by Dr. Charles “Chuck” Davis.
DanceAfrica Miami aspires to be “South Florida’s #1 Cultural Arts Destination Festival”.
Baba Chuck will use these two words in the Twi language of the Akan people from Ghana, West Africa to command your attention:
Call: “Agoo”- Are you listening?
Response: “Amee”- You have my attention!
Baba you have Delou Africa’s full attention and we will continue to listen to you through the Realm of our Ancestors.
For more information on Delou Africa’s festival visit adddff.delouafrica.org